Exceptional leaders are driven by the vision to succeed. They inspire and lead by example. They aim at achieving the results by overcoming all odds and never quit at the face of adversity. One such tenacious leader with an indomitable will and an undying perseverance to prosper and flourish is Larry Gerrans, the CEO of Sanovas.
An Inspirational Journey
“I have had a unique ‘Forrest Gump’ like existence in the Life Sciences.” says Larry. He came into the Life Science Industry at the inception of its renaissance in the early 1990’s, when surgical technology and procedures were being totally reinvented. At a very young age of 22 years, he found himself instructing surgeons in their 60’s how to perform total joint arthroplasty procedures. He had to become expert in his field to gain their trust and respect.
As a result, Larry was lucky to have established deep friendships with many of the pioneering thought leaders and key opinion leaders in a wide variety of surgical disciplines. They took him under their wing and taught him what he needed to know to help them be their best. This gave Larry a very broad exposure to a lot of different surgical specialties and interventional procedures. Increasingly, he became adept at bringing together surgeons, scientists, and engineers to brainstorm and develop many new and exciting procedures and technologies that now serve as the ‘Gold Standard’ in minimally invasive surgery.
He has remained a critical thinker and a problem solver in the industry. Larry feels blessed to have been able to stay at the ‘Tip of the Spear’ in medical innovation ever since.
Larry’s key to Motivation
Larry loves solving problems and helping people. He feels that every day is a good deed in this profession. His greatest motivation is to know there is someone out there who is better off today because of the small contributions he and his teams have made in their lives. “So long as I keep waking up before my alarm clock goes off I know I am motivated!” says Larry. He feels that all the hard-working people in the field of Life Sciences are inspirational in their own unique way. He considers Mother Teresa as the person whose life contribution is the most inspirational, because of how selfless and pure of intention she was.
Sanovas is a Life Science Accelerator. The company was conceived to cure lung cancer. They have developed many of the world’s smallest and most technologically sophisticated medical devices and drug delivery systems to access, image, measure, diagnose, and treat cancers and diseases in the very small diameter, far-away places, and spaces in the lungs.
Under the percipient leadership of Larry, Sanovas has successfully overcome the procedural risks and technological challenges of developing very small, highly intelligent tools. They have since morphed Sanovas into a Life Science Accelerator. This has enabled them to diversify their assets into other surgical specialties, mitigate their development and investment risks, and to maximize the prospects for profits and returns on shareholder value. Larry-led Sanovas has prosecuted over 192 multi-national patent applications that they have licensed into sixteen (16) procedure specific companies. Each of these companies serve multi-billion dollar global medical markets with next generation procedural capabilities, invented by them, that serve a global patient population of 3.1 billion middle class workers.
Facing Challenges Head-On
“The most daring challenge I have taken has been to step out into the world of entrepreneurialism to start up Sanovas during the worst financial crisis and economy in modern history.” says Larry. He adds “I was managing business and technology development for a start-up spinal implant company. They became nervous about the economy at the end of 2007 and even more so about my ability to travel and work 18 hour days on behalf of the company after my Wife became sick. We had three daughters under 6 years of age at the time and she was heading for a quite a few operations in 2008 and beyond. So, on the day before Thanksgiving in 2007, they advised me that my employment contract would not be renewed for 2008. For the first time in my life I was looking at a totally wide open future! …..and Sanovas was then born! We had been working on innovation and theorizing about solutions to treat lung cancer since 2002. This was the push I needed to focus on a cure for lung cancer and to build out a new therapeutic sector in healthcare. It was a blessing in disguise”.
The biggest challenge and the most consequential risk for Sanovas was to invent a precision medicine solution that could cure early stage lung cancer, upon early diagnosis. Larry always focused on building a company of cures–not pills, and he has successfully achieved that. In addition, they have had to ‘go it alone’ in funding Sanovas, Inc. in a manner that has challenged the status quo and has disrupted the financial ecosystem that has, historically, controlled the financing of emerging growth companies. After the mortgage crisis and fall of the global economy, innovation capital dried up. No one was investing in “Development Risk”. No one wanted anything to do with early stage, pre-revenue/pre-regulatory cleared technology companies. Consequently, the company had to invent entirely new methods of capital formation for emerging growth companies such as theirs.
Under the astute guidance of Larry, Sanovas has accomplished various landmarks. Throughout their illustrious journey, the company has made many noteworthy accomplishments, some of which include:
- Raised over $60M with 710 Members of his Friends & Family
- Wrote 192 Multi-National Patent Applications
- Achieved FDA Clearance
- Developed 389 Unique Precision Medicine Products
- Spun out 16 Portfolio Companies
- Innovated Social Finance & Self Directed IRA Investing
- Developed curative drug delivery therapies for early stage cancers
- Supported and helped pass the JOBS Acts of 2012 & 2017
- Inspired and help wrote the IPO Pipeline Act of 2018
- Supported and helped pass Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Acts of 2008 & 2011 and the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act of 2013
- Supported and wrote language in the Safe Patient Act of 2015
- Supported and wrote language in the Medical Device Safety Act of 2017
- Built out a 30,000 Sq. Ft. State of the Art Biotechnology Facility
- Structured a Joint Venture with Mayo Clinic to develop a cure for Asthma
- Structured a Joint Venture with Stanford to develop Optical Molecular Imaging
- Structured a Joint Venture with the University of Saskatchewan to develop Capsule Endoscopy
- Structured a Joint Development initiative with Physicians from Harvard to detect Diabetic Retinopathy and develop Robotic Optometry
- Structured a Joint Development initiative with the Second Military Hospital of China to build a new technology concept in Ureteroscopy.
- Structured a Joint Venture with the Peoples of Government of Suzhou, China
- Established R&D and Manufacturing operations at the Suzhou Institute of Nano-technology and Nano-bionics at BioBay, one of the largest Biotech think tanks and Industrial Parks in the world
- Structured a Joint Venture with the Hangzhou Xiaoshan District Peoples Government in China
Larry’s Opinions about the Healthcare Industry
Larry states “We are witnessing the greatest advances in innovation and in the delivery of Healthcare in the history of mankind. This is evidenced by the emergence of communications, computing, information technology, the internet, cellular communications, and social media in bringing our world together over the last 30 years”.
He says that in 2000, advanced medical technologies catered to a limited global population of about 750 million upper and middle class workers, largely comprised of Americans, Europeans, Canadians, and Japanese. Essentially, Western democracies who understood the correlation between health, wealth, and taxation. He adds “According to the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2020, the global middle and upper class populations will have mushroomed to more than 3.1 billion people. By 2030, the global middle & upper class will equate to more than 4.9 billion people”.
Larry says that emerging democracies and markets are seeing extraordinary growth in the number of people who can go on the internet, find a “Symptom Checker”, diagnose their disease state, get educated about their health or that of a loved and find a doctor who can treat them at a price they can afford. “This creates entirely new opportunities for those who can build and deliver safe, affordable and portable technologies to the masses.”